THE BBC has blocked the nationwide broadcast of a fundraising appeal for Gaza by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) this weekend.
The DEC comprises the 12 biggest aid charities, including the British Red Cross and Save the Children.
The BBC has sought to spread the blame for its action, claiming that other broadcasters also had reservations about the appeal.
A 46-year-old agreement with overseas aid charities guarantees them a two-minute prime-time slot across the broadcast network for appeals but, by convention, if all broadcasters do not agree to carry the appeal, none does.
Earlier this week the DEC announced that it would broadcast an appeal for Gaza, saying that the devastation after Israel’s three-week offensive was so great that it felt ‘compelled to act’.
The big advantage of a DEC appeal is the free airtime given to it by the major broadcasters, in an agreement dating back to 1963.
A national appeal from the DEC would normally raise about £10 million.
The BBC said yesterday: ‘Along with other broadcasters, the BBC has decided not to broadcast the DEC’s public appeal to raise funds for Gaza. The BBC decision was made because of question marks about the delivery of aid in a volatile situation and also to avoid any risk of compromising public confidence in the BBC’s impartiality in the context of an ongoing news story. However, the BBC will, of course, continue to report the humanitarian story in Gaza.’
But Sky refuted the BBC version, saying: ‘We were considering this request internally when the DEC contacted us to let us know that the BBC had decided not to broadcast the appeal at this time. As, by convention, if all broadcasters do not carry the appeal then none do, the decision was effectively made for us.’
The BBC action is a blow by the British state against the Palestinian masses and is support for their oppressor Israel.
• Sussex Students for A Free Palestine have issued a statement affirming that over 80 University of Sussex students have occupied a major lecture theatre in solidarity with Palestinians under siege.
Pointing to other universities where occupations are also taking place, they said: ‘We stand in solidarity with The School of Oriental and African Studies, The London School of Economics, King’s College London, Birmingham and Essex Universities’.
Sussex Students for A Free Palestine have issued a set of demands to the university management, including that ‘the University of Sussex cease to invest directly or indirectly in companies complicit in human rights abuses in the Gaza strip and internationally’.
• One of the leaders of the King’s College London student occupation spoke to News Line yesterday.
Tallha Abdulrazaq said: ‘We have been in occupation since Tuesday the 19th and during the day, at times, we fill the lecture hall with 80 or 90 people.
‘We are occupying to get KCL administration to revoke Shimon Peres’ honorary PhD, which was granted to him in recognition of his apparent attempts to locate a peaceful resolution to the Palestinian conflict.
‘This is ridiculous, because he is essentially one of the butchers of Palestine. We will stay in occupation until this demand and others are met.
‘Presently, up and down the country, there are 10 other universities in occupation over the Palestinian issue, and the numbers are rising.
‘I would like to take this opportunity to thank and encourage the further support of students in solidarity. Keep up the fight!
• Second news story
TAMILS DEMONSTRATE AT BBC
over 2,000 Tamils and their supporters demonstrated outside BBC Television Centre, White City, yesterday afternoon with banners saying the BBC must not assist Sri Lanka genocide against Tamils and ‘Sri Lanka using Tsunami aid to kill Tamils’. They carried placards with pictures of dead and wounded women and children and shouted ‘BBC do your job!’.
A leaflet addressed to ‘The Director, the BBC TV/Radio News/Documentary, BBC, London W12’ said: ‘The silence of the BBC over the scale of the killing and destruction in the heinous genocide of the Tamils of Sri Lanka by the government of Sri Lanka is not only unethical but it is reprehensible as it has encouraged Sri Lanka to even greater depths of carnage.’